People on the Move: Appointments, retirements, achievements

Jon Condon, 13/05/2021

Beef Central publishes an occasional summary of appointments, departures and achievements occurring across the red meat and livestock supply chain. Send details for entries to

  • Change of leadership at Stockyard’s Kerwee feedlot
  • NT Live Exporters make CEO appointment
  • Beef 2021 Beef Achiever Award for Tracey Hayes
  • Angus appoint breed development officer
  • MLA’s man in Singapore moves on to consultancy
  • New Qld state manager for AMIC
  • AWA appoints genetics projects manager
  • Prestigious Fullbright Scholarship for agtech pioneer
  • Canberra’s new chief environmental biosecurity officer
  • Agtech developer picks up VIC small business award
  • Sweet start for 2021 Lachlan Hughes Foundation Scholar
  • Darling Downs farewells export superstar

Change of leadership at Stockyard’s Kerwee feedlot

After six years at the helm of Stockyard’s Kerwee feedlot on Queensland’s Darling Downs, Steve Martin recently stepped down from his role as general manager of feedlot operations.

Steven Martin

While he has been active in industry circles in recent weeks, attending both the Australian Wagyu Association conference and Beef 2021, Mr Martin is yet to make a decision on his future path, short of telling Beef Central he is keen to remain within the beef industry.

Suffice to say he was observed having lengthy discussions with some large Wagyu supply chain players during the recent Wagyu conference.

Mr Martin joined Stockyard in 2015 and steered the company through a major expansion in 2017 that doubled the capacity of the Kerwee feedlot; and more recently the establishment of Stockyard’s Fullblood and purebred Wagyu breeding and backgrounding business.

Following his departure, the Stockyard Group has promoted George Lubbe as general manager of feedlot operations. Mr Lubbe has previously worked since 2017 as Kerwee’s assistant manager.

George Lubbe

A South African by birth, Mr Lubbe previously worked with large-scale Queensland egg producer Mclean Farms, and civil engineers Ostwald Brothers, as well as his family’s cattle trading business based near Texas on the NSW/QLD border.

Another long-term Kerwee staffmember, Stevie-Lee Wayman, has been appointed assistant manager of Kerwee feedlot, moving up from her livestock supervisor role. Both she and George Lubbe bring a wealth of experience to their new positions.

Good feedlot managers and grainfed supply chain managers were in “high demand and short supply” across the industry at present, one of Australia’s most prominent ag recruiters told Beef Central recently.

NT Live Exporters make CEO appointment

Northern Territory Livestock Exporters Association chairman David Warriner has confirmed the commencement of the organisation’s new CEO, Tom Dawkins, in Darwin last week. Mr Dawkins has previously held a number of senior industry affairs roles with national agricultural bodies the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council, the Cattle Council of Australia and most recently Australian Pork Ltd.

Tom Dawkins

He began his career as a livestock markets reporter with Rural Press/Fairfax newspaper Stock Journal in his home state of South Australia in 2006. He was appointed editor of the masthead in 2008, before transferring to the editor’s desk at Victorian stablemate Stock & Land in 2010.

Mr Dawkins follows in the footsteps of numerous well-known export industry figures who have served terms heading-up the NTLEA, including regular Beef Central contributor Dr Ross Ainsworth, Patrick Underwood, Lach Mackinnon, Kevin Mulvahil and Bernie Brosnan. Mr Dawkins’ immediate predecessor Will Evans, who is now the CEO of the NTCA, followed on in the NTLEA position after Stuart Kemp, who is now based in Queensland as Livestock Manager North with Australian Country Choice.

Beef 2021 Beef Achiever Award for Tracey Hayes

Tracey Hayes, the first female chief executive officer of the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association and the facilitator of the successful class action against the 2011 suspension of the live cattle export trade to Indonesia, was awarded the Beef Achiever Award at a Beef 2021 dinner hosted by Rabobank and Queensland Country Life in Rockhampton last week.

NTCA executive director Tracey Hayes addresses a function at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta.

Tracey is regarded as a senior business and industry leader, having also previously served as chair of the Darwin Waterfront Corporation and as a Member of the Order of Australia Honours Council. She is a director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Northern Australia, sits on the board of the Australia Indonesia Institute and is a member of the advisory board of the National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency.

Tracey is also small business proprietor, a long-term former Territory pastoralist, pilot and Justice of the Peace, and ran against NT chief minister Michael Gunner as a candidate for the Country Liberal Party for the seat of Fannie Bay in the NT election last year.

Asked to reveal something about herself in an interview with the NT Independent last year, she noted that at one point in time she was licenced to operate and use aeroplanes, trucks, cars, motorbikes, boats, firearms, forklifts, and S7 pharmaceuticals and chemicals. “Not unusual for bush women” she added. Keep an eye on Beef Central for an upcoming interview with Tracey Hayes.

The Beef Industry Achiever award was initiated by Beef Central publisher Jon Condon back in 1997.

New ALFA councillors out and about

Two new councillors elected to the Australian Lot Feeders Association board in November have been out and about around the industry, since the lifting of the COVID curtain.

Attending Beef 2021 last week, coinciding with the launch of ALFA’s new community-facing website, was newly-minted councillor Daryle Belford, from Whyalla feedlot, near Texas Qld

Pictured on ALFA’s stand during Beef 2021 were new ALFA councillor Daryle Belford, chief executive Christian Mulders, CARS Road Safety Ambassador Judy Lindsay, and ALFA’s Elise Mizzi. Click on image for a larger view

Mr Belford managed cattle properties in Central Queensland between 1990 and 2004 before moving into an agribusiness and financial advisory role based in Emerald up to 2009. He entered the feedlot industry in 2010 with NH Foods’ Whyalla yard, having worked in numerous parts of the business up to his current position of assistant general manager. He replaces Whyalla general manager Tony Fitzgerald on the ALFA board.

Also joining the ALFA council lineup this year is was Tom Green, from Thomas Foods International’s Iranda Beef feedlot in South Australia.

Tom worked in North America on large-scale bull breeding properties before entering the feedlot industry in 2012 when he joined Teys Australia at Jindalee feedlot as a Graduate Manager before becoming the Livestock Manager followed by the Operations Manager.

In 2016 he joined TFI as operations manager at Iranda Beef before being appointed General Manager of Feedlot and Farming in 2018. Tom was awarded Young Lot Feeder of The Year in 2017 and a Nuffield Scholarship in 2019. Tom has been an external representative on ALFA’s Feedlot Management committee during 2019 and ALFA’s R&D committee during 2020.

Angus appoint breed development officer

Angus Australia has appointed Jake Phillips as the breed society’s new Breed Development Officer.

Jake Phillips

Mr Phillips grew up in South Australia and has spent considerable time working across the beef supply chain in various positions throughout Eastern Australia. After uni he joined ABRI as a BreedPlan consultant, followed by four years with Meat Standards Australia based in Queensland in the areas of the integrity and adoption. More recently he has spent the past seven years working for Teys Australia at Naracoorte in South Australia in a variety of roles including livestock procurement, branded beef, QA management and livestock strategic operations. His most recent Teys role was as livestock strategic operations manager.

Jake and his wife run a small seedstock operation near Naracoorte, recently added Angus genetics to their herd.

In his role with Angus Australia, he will work alongside existing Breed Development Officer, Matt Reynolds, in the delivery of education and extension programs that assist Angus breeders with the utilisation of genetic improvement technologies to enhance the profitability of Angus cattle and beef across the beef supply chain. He will be regionally based, working from Naracoorte in South Australia.

MLA’s man in Singapore moves on to consultancy

Meat & Livestock Australia’s ‘Man in Singapore’, Dr Michael Patching, has moved on to establish his own industry consultancy.

Michael Patching

Dr Patching has worked as MLA’s livestock services manager and more recently market development manager for the Asia Pacific region for the past two and a half years, after earlier acting as market development manager for in-country operations in Vietnam for three years.

A Murdoch University and University of Edinburgh trained veterinarian with master’s degree qualifications in international animal welfare, ethics and law, Dr Patching has worked closely with Australian live exporters and Vietnamese importers over the past six years, during the period of dramatic volume growth, more recently adding Indonesia and other southeast Asian customer countries to his responsibility. Click here to read Beef Central’s report from an interview.

Dr Patching is now moving on to start his own consultancy business, Beanstalk Agtech, based out of Singapore, where he will focus on filling a gap in trade facilitation work for companies seeking to develop commercial agricultural and food market opportunities in the ASEAN region.

His replacement in the MLA Singapore role has not yet been announced.

New Qld state manager for AMIC

Roger Desailly

The Australian Meat Industry Council has appointed Roger Desailly as the organisation’s new state manager for Queensland. He replaces Peter Talbot, who filled the role for the past two years.

In his role, Mr Desailly works principally with independent retail butchers across the state, but also has a watching brief across AMIC’s country processor, wholesaler and smallgoods manufacturer member network.

He is a former chief executive of the industry’s major Beef Australia expos in Rockhampton, and most recently has worked in his own agribusiness consultancy after a period as state education and training manager for the Queensland Agricultural and Training Colleges organisation.

Mr Desailly is operating from AMIC’s Brisbane office in Red Hill, but travels widely across the state.

AWA appoints genetics projects manager

Laura Penrose

The formal launch of the Australian Wagyu Association’s major ten-year Progeny Test Program (click here for earlier story) at the 2021 WagyuEdge annual conference recently has coincided with the appointment of AWA’s first genetics improvement program manager.

Laura Penrose took up her new position in March. A Bachelor of Science graduate from the University of New England, Laura previously worked as a project assistant at UNE, and as a technical officer with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

She will be based out of AWA’s Armidale office.

Prestigious Fullbright Scholarship for agtech pioneer

Queensland agribusiness and agtech pioneer, William Harrington was recently awarded a prestigious Fulbright academic scholarship, sponsored by the Food Agility CRC.

Mr Harrington is studying for his Food Agility PhD at James Cook University in Townsville. His thesis topic is measuring and quantifying the benefits of improved internet connectivity in regional and remote Australia and its effect on adoption of technology.

William Harrington

“My PhD project aims to understand how farmers use the internet, including how often, what a farmer’s typical data usage is, and what types of websites and applications they use,” he said. “At this point in time there is very little, if any research in this area and I am excited to be able to contribute.”

Growing up on a remote cattle station in the north west of Queensland, Mr Harrington was an early agtech pioneer, developing animal ID and iSee remote monitoring and W-Sky connectivity technologies, despite his remote location.

“I have always loved being able to bring together my two passions, technology and agriculture,” he said, after being awarded his scholarship. “Improved connectivity can make a tangible difference to the lives of people in regional Australia and enables the adoption of new technologies that improve efficiency, production and environmental outcomes. There has been a lot of talk in the media about connectivity in regional Australia, and I decided to do a PhD to try and produce scientific data that can be used to guide decision and policy makers.”

Mr Harrington’s Fulbright scholarship will involve  study in the US, where he will be based at Ohio State University for four months, studying the US approach to rural broadband.

“The US is a world leader in this area and I would like to use the opportunity to learn from institutions such as the Federal Communications Commission, US Department of Agriculture, and academic organisations such as the Perdue Centre for Regional Development,” he said.

On completing his PhD, Mr Harrington plans to remain in regional Australia and continue to research topics that are related to farmers, connectivity and technology adoption.

Canberra’s new chief environmental biosecurity officer

Dr Robyn Cleland was recently appointed as the new chief environmental biosecurity officer with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment in Canberra.

Deputy secretary of biosecurity and compliance, Andrew Tongue, said Dr Cleland brought a wealth of experience and expertise to the role, having held senior leadership roles in the Australian Public Service for more than a decade.

Dr Cleland has worked across the portfolios of agriculture, health and environment, working in policy, compliance and regulation. Her scientific expertise spans biosecurity, plant health, biotechnology, food, ecology and agriculture.

The role of the chief environmental biosecurity officer is to liaise between government, industry and the community to raise awareness and build Australia’s capacity to manage biosecurity risks.

“This is a hugely important role, charged with protecting Australia’s unique wildlife, our way of life, and our status as a clean, green exporter of high-quality food,” Mr Tongue said.

Dr Cleland has worked with State and Territory jurisdictions, NGOs and the community across a number of national regulatory schemes and has extensive experience in engaging with diverse stakeholders across contentious issues. Before she joined the APS, she was a research scientist at the University of Cambridge, the University of Sheffield and the Australian National University.

Agtech developer picks up VIC small business award

Agtech developer Jock Lawrence last month received the Victorian Young Achiever Award in Small Business.

Mobble founder, Jock Lawrence

The 28-year-old co-founder of the Mobble farm management software platform, Mr Lawrence received the award at a gala dinner in Melbourne. The Young Achiever awards began in 2012 with the purpose of promoting, acknowledging and encouraging the positive achievements of young people in industry up to 30 years of age.

In his acceptance speech, he thanked the farmers who had supported his business through the years, as well as his team at Mobble for their commitment to the company’s vision of making life easier for farmers and simplifying farm management.

He noted that farmers “are the reason we get out of bed every day, to make their lives easier and more successful.” Mobble is a centralised livestock farm management software platform, used by more than 500 farms across Australia and New Zealand, currently managing more than two million stock units across those properties. The software puts a focus on connection and simplicity – by farmers for farmers.

Sweet start for 2021 Lachlan Hughes Foundation Scholar

Beau North from Sarina, Queensland was recently announced as the Lachlan Hughes Foundation 2021 Foundation Scholar. An independent selection panel identified Beau from a strong field of applicants from across Australia.

With his partner Katherine Fausett, Beau has recently purchased a grazing property in the Sarina area, which is the focus of his project for the scholarship. As a new landholder, Beau recognises that he has a duty of care to protect and enhance water quality but also mitigate erosion on his property.

He is embarking on a journey to retire areas on the property, which were farmed for sugar cane for 80 years, to a mixed species of perennial pastures and beneficial vegetation for grazing, diversity and ecological value. Using regenerative agricultural principles where possible and practical, Beau aspires to enhance water cycles on farm, slowing the runoff and returning it to the soils to support fertility and drought resilience.

The scholarship mentoring will provide access to expertise and training to refine his current property plan and support him on the ground as he furthers his long term dream of building a beef grazing business.

Beau knows first-hand how hard it is to get a start in the beef industry as grazing land has been expensive in his region. He and his partner have been leasing country for his small cattle herd for the past eight years. Learning a trade as an electrician has helped him build up the capital to help pursue his passion for grazing and allowed him to finally purchase his first property.

Beau also hopes that the scholarship will benefit other farmers, through growing the regen community in the wider region.

Beau follows in the footsteps of inaugural scholar Jack Groat, who shared his experiences at the MLA BeefUp event in Roma earlier this year. Jack spoke on how his journey to learn more about regenerative agriculture has been rapidly enhanced through the scholarship.

“The opportunity provided by the Lachlan Hughes Scholarship has allowed me to give back to the regenerative agriculture movement as well. It has improved my focus on hydrating our landscapes through a multi lever approach, implementing rotational grazing, contours and leaky weirs to reduce run-off, soil erosion and keep ground cover – better for the environment and better for business,” Jack said.

Darling Downs farewells export superstar

The Darling Downs lost one of its greatest export superstars in April. Geraldine Doumany, or Gerry as she was known, spent her career assisting businesses experience international trade success and she was one of the region’s strongest advocates for creating a thriving export community.

Raised on a farm near Cunnamulla in Western Queensland, and always maintaining a connection to regional and rural communities, Gerry held senior roles with government agencies Austrade and Trade and Investment Queensland. She also worked within the private sector, and most recently was leading Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise’s (TSBE) export initiatives.

Gerry was adept at helping businesses understand how to export and how to navigate the many challenges that every export journey entails.

“I remember many times hearing phone calls from panicked local exporters with Gerry calmly stepping in to locate products stuck on a wharf in China or fixing export documentation or using her many international contacts to smooth the way for Darling Downs products to reach overseas markets,” TSBE CEO, Ali Davenport said.

“Export is incredibly complicated, but Gerry was brilliant and could solve just about any export problem.”

Last year, the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards introduced the Gerry Doumany Export Award, which was won by local beef export supply chain Mort & Co.






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